We’re in the afterglow of Christmas morning, here at the Tacklind home. There’s a fire, slowing dying, in the fireplace. Wrapping paper is still strewn everywhere. There are plates stacked in the sink, still sticky with leftover cinnamon roll icing. In the next room I can hear the pleasant staccato of Gabe’s drumming on his new drum pad. Patty is asleep on the couch, enjoying a much deserved, midday nap. New sweaters and socks are worn by all.
We had a wet Christmas this year, with rain and wind. That’s as close as we get here in Laguna to anything like a white Christmas. And soon we’ll be on the road, heading to my parents for a delightful Christmas feast.
But right now is that beautiful pause in the day. That moment to cherish and savor. Lila is gathering up her unwrapped gifts and pauses to savor it all. “I love Christmas,” she says, mostly to herself.
So do I. it is a day worth waiting for. I love that life gives us this rhythm. Seasons change and pass by. The weather will continue to drop as we move into winter, but always with the reassurance of Spring and Summer. And then Fall again. My favorite time of the year.
I cherish these joyful moments. Mostly because they are few and far between. Joy usually comes in much smaller glimpses, whereas today, it is spread broadcast. Lewis calls these moments ‘comfortable inns’ on our journey. Places to rest, but not remain. Because life is so much more than holding on and possessing joy. Joy isn’t meant to be possessed. We ruin the moment when we try to make it permanent. Instead we must hold it gently, with open hands. Like a butterfly…careful not to damage its fragile wings. Enjoying its beauty before it flutters away and takes flight.
In a moment I’ll begin the chores. Dishes to be washed, wrapping paper and boxes to be recycled, a wetsuit for Gabe, too small for my growing young man, that needs to be returned. And then lights to take down and a tree to untrim (sp?). We will go back to that season that the lectionary refers to as ordinary time.
Advent is a season of anticipation, and reminds us that this waiting with longing is the lens through which we must live out each and every day. We savor the joy and live with gratefulness, and yet are never to forget that the ache that remains is pointing us towards a destiny that is larger than anything that this world can ever truly satisfy. Our hearts are too big and made for so much more.
Chesterton writes, “When a person has found something which he prefers to life itself, he for the first time has begun to live.” I couldn’t agree more. So enjoy today, for all the richness it brings. Allow yourself to be merry and find the delightful moments. Savor them. And then release them.
And never forget that the deepest joy is that we don’t journey alone. We go with each other. But most importantly, we go with our shepherd. Who guides us to green pastures and still waters. Who restores our soul.
Thank you Jesus, for your gift of love and vulnerability and power. Thank you for coming in the fullness of time. And let us rest in the peace of the promise of your one-day return.
Amen, Come Lord Jesus.
Merry Christmas, my friends!
I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied, “Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.”
May that Almighty hand guide and uphold us all.